Shané Harris, Chair

shaneharris.png“As a local education fund, The Trust works to reduce fragmentation of efforts and mobilize civic leadership.”

Shané Harris serves as the Vice President of The Prudential Foundation, where she is responsible for management of Foundation staff and program strategy and overseeing the distribution of $25 million in annual Foundation grants. Ms. Harris oversees education policy for Prudential’s Community Resources Department and advises senior management on their support of education initiatives. She also serves as Secretary of the Foundation.

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Superintendent Roger León

Roger LeónRoger León was born in the city of Newark, grew up in the city of Newark, remains a proud product of the Newark Board of Education, dedicated 25 years of service to the children in the Newark Public Schools, and still lives in Newark.

Mr. León attended Hawkins Street School from Kindergarten to 8th grade and graduated from Science High School. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at Rutgers University and was determined to remain in Newark to teach and impact lives at both of his alma maters. For three years, he taught 5th grade at Hawkins Street School and was the Head Coach of the Science High School Debate Team for eight years. His classes won local competitions and his students demonstrated high academic growth. The debate team won local, state, and national championships. The 8th Grade Algebra Pilot resulted in his move to Rafael Hernández Elementary School. Mr. León taught Algebra I to 8th graders for high school credit and provided intensive professional development in mathematics to Newark teachers across the district. The success of this project resulted in hundreds of 8th grader students earning high school credit in Algebra I, teachers earning dual certification in Mathematics, and the district’s highest elementary mathematics standardized test scores in years.

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Josephine Garcia

  Josephine Garcia, a Newark resident for nearly four decades, serves as a Legislative Aide to City of Newark Council Member, Carlos M. González. She has garnered various accolades for her extensive work with the community during her 18 years of service as a municipal employee.


She has a vested interest in Newark Public Schools, having graduated two of her three sons out of high schools in her beloved City. As a concerned parent, Josephine served 10 years on the Parent Council Executive Committee at the Robert Treat Academy (RTA) and five years as a volunteer of the Science Park High School (SPHS) Parent-Teacher Association. Her accomplishments in these capacities include: spearheading successful initiatives, such as the well-attended International Night at SPHS; helping to raise several thousands of dollars at a magnet fundraiser event at RTA and multiple sold-out RTA movie nights. She also has assisted leading her fellow parent council members in the implementation of a healthier lunch program for RTA students.

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Michele Mason

Michele MasonMichele Mason serves as the executive director of the Newark Charter School Fund. A New Jersey native, Michele is a longtime advocate for high-quality education options throughout the state. Prior to joining NCSF, she served as the deputy director of JerseyCAN, a nonprofit education research and advocacy organization that advocates for high-quality education for students regardless of zip code.

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Nancy Cantor


NancyCantor_NTE_Board_CROPPED.jpg"As an educational leader I have devoted my advocacy to making more real the promise of higher education as the road to social mobility, a context for democratic practice, and a participant in community building and public problem-solving."

Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark since January 1, 2014, is a distinguished higher education leader who is helping to forge a new understanding of the role of universities in society.

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Robert Clark

YouthBuild Newark/Newark Leadership Academy

Robert_Clark_NTE_Board_CROPPED.jpg"We have to provide our students with an opportunity to believe that anything is possible. We do that by giving them the right tools."

Robert Clark is the founder and executive director of YouthBuild Newark, a community service, job-training, and pre-apprenticeship program where low-income young people can also work toward a GED or high school diploma. YouthBuild Newark is the local partner of YouthBuild USA.

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Irene Cooper-Basch

Victoria Foundation

ICB.jpg“While reform efforts and superintendents come and go, the Trust is here for the long haul to ensure that student outcomes follow a positive, upward trajectory."

In June 2006, Irene Cooper-Basch became the third Executive Officer and Secretary of the Board for Victoria Foundation, a private grantmaking institution founded in 1924,with current assets totaling $200 million. Prior to this appointment, she served as a Program Officer at Victoria Foundation and the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey for10 years. Both foundations have a strong grantmaking focus on the city of Newark, New Jersey.

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Joe Della Fave

Ironbound Community Corp.

Joe Della Fave is executive director of the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC), which empowers residents of the Ironbound section of Newark — a diverse neighborhood of 50,000 people – to build better lives for themselves and a better community for all who call the Ironbound home.

As the leading social service organization in the Ironbound, ICC takes a unique approach to delivering quality services by linking them with community planning, development, and activism.

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Steven J. Diner

Rutgers University

dinerSm.jpg“The Newark Education Trust acts as an advocate for the community in holding the Newark Public Schools accountable in establishing a new culture of excellence.”

University Professor Steven J. Diner served as chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark from July 2002 to December 2011. He devoted himself to building Rutgers-Newark as a leading urban research university. Under his leadership, Rutgers-Newark has built strong ties between the campus and the local community.

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Celia M. King

Leadership Newark

CeliaKing.jpg“It is an honor and a privilege to be able to contribute as a board member of the Newark Trust for Education. As an independent organization, we work diligently on behalf of the students of Newark, and our focus is high student achievement and academic excellence for all students.”

Celia M. King serves as the executive director of Leadership Newark, Inc., where she is responsible for ensuring a myriad of citizens committed to the City of Newark, enhance their skills and knowledge based on numerous public policy issues affecting the community.

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Raymond Ocasio

La Casa de Don Pedro

Ray_Ocasio.jpg“The Trust’s only constituencies are the students and parents of Newark.”

Since 1998 and under Mr. Ocasio’s stewardship La Casa has experienced tremendous growth and consolidation of its programs and advocacy activities while adding vigor to its economic development work by employing a focused, targeted, comprehensive and integrated strategy plan.

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John Schreiber

New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Schreiber.jpg“One of the goals I have is that arts education be as important and preeminent in any of the work that we do."

NJPAC President John Schreiber joined the Trust's board of directors in December 2012 and has served as president of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center since July 2011.

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Barbara Reisman

The Schumann Fund for New Jersey

Barbara_Keruv.jpg"One of our primary goals is to keep the public in public education. Transparency in decision making, access to timely information, and meaningful participation by Newark's citizens are values central to the Trust."

Barbara Reisman has been Executive Director of The Schumann Fund for New Jersey since 1997.

The Schumann Fund makes program and policy grants in New Jersey to expand access to high quality early childhood education, for environmental protection and education in urban New Jersey, and to improve public education.

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Junius Williams

Abbott Leadership Institute

5373453952_6047062a4b_m.jpg“The community’s voice is vitally important in the conversation of education reform in Newark. As such, The Trust will augment and support the voices already engaged in education reform, providing information and access to other resources as needed. This is one way The Trust helps to align efforts.”

Junius W. Williams is a noted attorney, educator, musician and community advocate. As the Director of the Abbott Leadership Institute, at Rutgers University, Newark, he teaches advocacy skills to parents and professional educators.

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The Hon. Ras J. Baraka, Ex-Officio Member

City of Newark

OfficialPic_Mayor_Baraka_CROPPED.jpgMayor Ras J. Baraka was elected Mayor of the City of Newark in May 2014, becoming Newark's 40th Chief Executive since the City's incorporation in 1836.

A native of Newark, whose family has lived in the City for more than 70 years, Mayor Baraka was educated in the Newark Public schools and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and a Master's Degree in Education Supervisions from St. Peter's University in Jersey City.

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